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February 24, 2018

Final Day of the RORC Caribbean 600

Today marks the final day of this year’s RORC Caribbean 600. It has been a challenging race to say the least, with almost half the entries retiring through illness, or because of damage sustained by their yacht. Participants are now making the most of the sunshine and wind by drying out their clothing and equipment. Falmouth Marina is awash with colour, as life jackets, wet weather gear, and safety harnesses are slung over booms and railings to dry out.

last day rorc drying

last day drying 2

Although bustling with activity, the marina is an image of tranquility and calm, compared to the conditions that the participants endured.  Huge waves, strong winds, and confused seas have been the most commonly used adjectives to describe the challenging weather conditions faced this year, with even some of the most seasoned of sailors suffering from sea sickness.We caught up with some of the competitors to ask them how they fared throughout the race, and their thoughts now that they were safely back on dry land.

Chris Laiolo, was one of the ten crew aboard Lancelot II, a Beneteau First 40.  Lancelot II, from Sailing Logic, was skippered by Trevor Drew. Unfortunately, Lancelot II had to retire from the race due to illness, as one of the crew was vomiting blood. We are pleased to hear that he is doing well and has now flown home. Chris had nothing but praise for the coastguards in St Kitts, where the crew member disembarked. Chris is a keen sailor but doesn’t have vast offshore racing experience. Despite having some of the most challenging weather conditions ever experienced in this race, he is keen to come back next year to have another go. It will of course cost him the price of another cruise, the penalty bestowed upon by him by wife for his participation! At least on a cruise Chris can kick back, relax, and enjoy a more serene boating experience than the one that he’s just encountered!

Whereas Chris will be heading back to the UK after the weekend, his team mate, also Chris, will be heading over to St Maarten for the Heineken Regatta, starting 1st March. We wish him all the best, and hope for calmer weather!

LANCELOT 2

Chris Laiolo (on the left) and his crew mate, also Chris.

Nestled among the impressive Superyachts that are available for charter, were the many yachts that took part. It was great to be able to see up close the different styles of racing yachts that participated.

marina final day

Racing yachts jostling for space amongst the Superyachts

Morticia, is the smallest yacht to finish this testing race. After much scrutiny by the RORC, she was deemed safe enough to take part, and with her four Australian crew,  battled huge seas, and tremendous winds. Having had a disappointing false start last year, where they were unable to compete due to gear failure, this tiny trimaran, and her heroic crew have successfully completed this tough course under very challenging weather conditions. With a diet of chocolate bars and biscuits to keep them going, and hardly any sleep, I’m sure the crew were glad to set foot ashore.

MORTICIA

Morticia, tied up in Falmouth

FRENCH TECH

French Tech Caribos, Multihull 50, France. Came third place in the Multihull Line Honours

George David’s American Maxi Rambler 88 has won the 2018 RORC Caribbean 600 trophy. It has been an amazing race for the team, as not only did they set a new monohull record, they also won the IRC Zero.

RAMBLER LAST DAY

r88

Rambler 88

PARADOX LAST DAY

Paradox, at anchor in Falmouth. Peter Aschenbrenner’s Paradox won the Multihull Line Honours

We were kindly invited aboard Camiranga by crew member Claudio Beier. Unfortunately, Camiranga was one of the many boats that had to retire due to the damage that their yacht had sustained. He explained how they had initially lost their spinnaker, which took over an hour to recover, and a lot of effort and energy from the crew, which you can ill afford when participating in such a grueling race. The twelve crew of Camiranga, skippered by Samuel Albrecht, were then forced to retire after their main sail split in half. Claudio is an experienced racer, and has raced in the region before, up in the BVI. He has never faced such conditions that were seen in this race, and said he found them particularly tough, not what he was expecting in the Caribbean, they were reaching speeds of 24/25 knots! He is however keen to return next year to give it another go, and perhaps have kinder sailing conditions! Meanwhile, they are waiting for their mainsail to be repaired (they are £80,000 new), before heading north to St Maarten for the Heineken Regatta, which starts on 1st March

CAMIRANGA

Daniel chatting to Claudio

CAMIRANGA 2

Daniel having a turn at the helm while safely tied up!

RORC STAGE

We enjoyed lunch at the yacht club while watching the band set up for tonight’s prize giving.

TROPHIES

A glimpse at the coveted trophies.

With the prize giving ceremony taking place tonight they’ll be lots of celebrating as participants eagerly await the final results.

By Laura Barber


February 22, 2018

Day Three of the RORC Caribbean 600

Challenging weather conditions continue into the third day of the RORC Caribbean 600, with eight teams having successfully completed the arduous race. 34 yachts have now officially retired, demonstrating what tough racing conditions participants were faced with. There are still 40 teams still battling it out in the strong winds, and rough seas, and we hope to see as many as possible complete the course before prize-giving tomorrow evening.

It has been confirmed that Peter Aschenbrenner’s team racing Paradox, is the overall winner in the multihull category. With time correction calculated by MOCRA, they cannot be beaten. There will certainly be champagne corks popping today as they celebrate this incredible news. Congratulations to the whole team on this fantastic accomplishment.

paradox day3

Paradox

There are 35 yachts in the IRC class still racing, but George David’s Rambler 88 is still in prime position to take the coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.

rambler day 3

Rambler 88

The closest yacht to beating Rambler 88, is Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer, which completed the race in just under 52 hours. They fell short of the best corrected time by just over an hour. Boat Captain Tim Dawson, explained how they lost their headstay on the first night, and had to take a full batten out of the main sail which really hindered their upwind sail. Having participated in many races before, he said this was one of the toughest he had competed in.

cookson privateer day 3

Cookson 50 Privateer

There has also been a request by Jens Kellinghusen’s Varuna,  who is currently fourth overall, for redress, as they altered their course to assist stricken yacht Fuijin.

varuna day 3

Varuna

Prize-giving is scheduled for tomorrow evening at the Antigua Yacht Club, Falmouth, where there will be many people celebrating their success and achievement.

By Laura Barber


February 21, 2018

Farfalla, Superyacht Sailing Charter

One of the yachts competing in this years RORC Caribbean 600 is the stunning superyacht Farfalla, which is available for private charter. Built in 2014, she is 31 metres in length, with a generous beam of 6.9 metres.

RORC FARFALLA

Crew preparing for the start of the race

RORC FARFALLA HELM

Close-up of the helm station

But don’t worry, you don’t need to complete a 600 mile race to charter her! Farfalla, is a luxurious sailing sloop, with timeless styling that contributes towards her elegant appearance.

FARFALLA

She can accommodate eight guests in her four comfortable and luxurious cabins. With an experienced crew of five. You can ensure that your charter will be memorable for the right reasons.

FARFALLA CABIN

Guest cabin

FARFALLA SALOON

Saloon, note the panoramic windows.

Farfalla has all the modern conveniences that you would expect on a modern superyacht, with air-conditioning throughout, as well as WiFi. She has fantastic panoramic windows that afford you a 270-degree view of the stunning scenery as you cruise past. Farfalla has a cruising speed of 9 knots, and a top speed of 12.

To cool off, or to access many of the water toys that are available, there is a gorgeous swim platform at the stern, which gives you easy access to the sea. Farfalla, has a Williams 385 Turbojet 100HP  tender, and is kitted out with numerous toys to keep the more adventurous guests happy. Have a go at wakeboarding, water skiing, or enjoy the trill of being towed around on the ringo. Alternatively. enjoy the warm turquoise seas at your own pace and explore the coastline with the kayaks, or SUP boards. There is snorkelling gear onboard, so instead you could disappear and be amazed by the colourful underwater world, and swim among the tropical fish teeming the reefs. So, if racing around eleven of the Caribbean islands isn’t you’re cup of tea, then create an itinerary that is more to your liking, and enjoy an unforgettable holiday on this magnificent yacht.

Reef pic

Farfalla, skippered by Ross Warburton, is just approaching the Antigua finishing line, with 8.3 NM to go. When completed they will be 5th in Line Honours Monohull, and Ist in the Superyacht class. Congratulations to Ross and the crew of Farfalla for achieving such an amazing accomplishment.

By Laura Barber


February 21, 2018

RORC Caribbean 600 Record Smashed!

George David has smashed his own record which he set back in 2011 by 2 hours 38 minutes and 17 seconds. Racing his American Maxi Rambler 88, he crossed the finishing line in Antigua this morning at 01:21:45 AST, completing the race in 1 day 13 hours 41 minutes and 45 seconds.

rambler record

Peter Aschenbrenner’s Paradox, crossed the finishing line first, at 00:55:16 AST, with a time of 1 day, 13 hours, 5 minutes ad 16 seconds, taking first place in the Multihull Line honours for 2018. The record set for the multihulls by Phaedo 3 in 2016 is 31 hours 59 minutes and 4 seconds, with Paradox achieving a very respectable 37 hours 5 minutes and seconds.

paradox finish

Once again, the Americans have taken both the top spots, making that seven wins out of ten for the nation. Congratulations to both yachts, and their crew, for completing such a challenging and demanding course in such spectacular fashion.

By Laura Barber


February 21, 2018

Charter a Yacht for the RORC Caribbean 600

It is easy to be inspired by the amazing footage coming back from the RORC Caribbean 600 race. It is truly incredible when you see the skill and expertise that is required to participate in such an event, and witness the power wielded by mother nature, and ability of those competing in harnessing that power to their advantage.

charter rorc

Racing for France, Earendil

There are opportunities available to experience this incredible race first-hand, to push yourself to the limit, and see if you’ve got what it takes to complete one of the most challenging off-shore races in the world. If you were to charter a yacht for this race, you would circum-navigate around eleven of the Caribbean islands, as far north as Anguilla and as southerly as Les Saints, in Guadeloupe. Whether you choose to take on this challenge on your own, with colleagues, friends, or family, the team work involved in completing such a demanding race will never be forgotten.

charter rorc

One example of a yacht that you can charter for this race is the Volvo Open 70, called Monster Project. This 70 foot yacht has a beam of 5.7, and a top speed of 30+ knots. Monster Project was the first charter yacht to complete the RORC Caribbean 600 back in 2014, coming a very respectable 4th place. To ensure that everyone is fully prepared there is mandatory pre-race training. With the yacht fully skippered, and with a professional core crew, there is no reason for you not to fulfill this once in a lifetime opportunity.

monster project 1

Monster Project

monster project 2

By Laura Barber

 


February 20, 2018

Day Two of the RORC Caribbean 600

It has been a thrilling twenty -four hours of racing, with strong trade winds, high seas, and squalls causing huge shifts in the wind speed and direction. It has certainly been testing the skills and expertise of the participating sailors.

At present, Paradox, from the Cayman Islands, is storming ahead, working its way through one of the trickiest parts of the race, straight into wind, passing south of Guadeloupe. Paradox, is a one off 63′ Trimaran, and has skipper Peter Aschenbrenner at the helm.

rorc Paradox

Paradox

Hot on their heels is Rambler 88, a Canting keel sloop, and is now leading the race for the monohulls. At the helm is George David, who set the record in 2011 aboard Rambler 100, and with such strong weather conditions it’ll be interesting to see if he can break his own record.

R88

Rambler 88, preparing for the start of the race

At it stands 15 yachts have so far retired from the race, many for technical problems, which in accordance to race rules require them to return to port.

CQS

CQS, retired from the race due to technical problems

taz

Taz, retired from the race due to a crew injury

danneskjold rorc

Danneskjold, retired from the race due to minor damage

Whenever out at sea, you must never under-estimate the power of the elements, and with such strong and challenging weather conditions present throughout this race, safety is of the uttermost importance. Last night at 20.20 AST, the crew from Fujin were rescued off Saba where their American Bieker 53 Multihull had capsized. All eight-crew managed to scramble their way on top of the hull, where they awaited rescue. Stephen Cucchiaro’s Gunboat 60, Flow, was reported to have stood by until the rescue was underway, and the German Ker 56, Varuna, was reported to have altered course to assist but has now continued racing. Although rivalry can be rife during such prestigious races, it is heart-warming to see such examples of humanity.

FUJIN

Fujin, all eight crew are safe

With wind strength persevering, and the wave height due to increase,  we wish all the crews an exhilarating but safe continuation of the race.

By Laura Barber

 


February 19, 2018

10th Edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 Begins

Monday 19th February saw the start of the long awaited 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. Starting just outside the historic English Harbour, crowds lined the cliff top above Hercules Pillars to see the magnificent spectacle of over eighty sailing yachts begin the challenging and demanding race, circum-navigating around eleven of the Caribbean islands, to win the coveted trophy.

rorc crowd

The RORC Caribbean 600 had rapidly gained in popularity over the years and is a favourite with off-shore sailors wanting to challenge themselves. The stunning scenery may end up passing in a blur this year as competitors see themselves facing some of the toughest conditions ever seen in this race. With 20 knots forecast for the initial three days,  and with gusts of more than 30 knots, squalls, and significant wave height of two metres, building to three by Wednesday, it is setting out to be an exhilarating race for the participants.

rorc warm up

The view from Fort Charlotte, as the boats prepare for the start of the race.

rorc adjusting sail

Crews adjusting the sails before the race begins

rorc race begins

The race commences at 11am

The record for the monohull was set in 2011 by George David, in Rambler 100, with an amazing time of 40 hours 20 minutes and 02 secs. The record for the multihull was set in 2016, by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson, in MOD70 Phaedo 3, with an jaw dropping 31 hours 59 minutes and 04 seconds.

race begins 2

With such quick times we could be expecting the first yachts back as early as tomorrow night!

By Laura Barber


February 19, 2018

RORC Caribbean 600, 2018

Excitement is building with just one more day until the 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 race gets underway in Antigua on Monday 19th February.  With winds of over 20 knots forecast for the period of the 600mile race, these record-breaking conditions are sure to produce exhilarating racing conditions for the participating sailors.

The RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) Caribbean 600 has grown in reputation since its beginning back in 2009, and is now one of the most sought- after races for off- shore sailors. This is illustrated with an incredible 88 yachts that have entered this year, coming from six continents and over 22 nations. This exciting race around eleven of the Caribbean islands has certainly proven its popularity.  The Caribbean 600 is a complex and demanding race, and attracts some of the world’s top off-shore sailors, including winners from the America’s Cup, Olympic Games, and Volvo Ocean Race. With such skill and expertise at the helms, alongside passionate amateurs, it is going to be a thrilling week of  racing. The 600NM course will test the sailors to the limit, as they negotiate currents, winds and navigational challenges to work their way between the  islands as far north as Anguilla, and as far south as Les Saints, in Guadeloupe.

rorc course

American yacht owners have shown their dominance in this race, having won six out of the nine occasions, as well as setting both the monohull and multihull records. With thirteen teams competing from there this year, they are favourite to win yet again, but they face strong competition by opponents from Australia, France, Great Britain, Germany, and Ireland. In fact, a record breaking eleven yachts will be hoisting the flag for France this year.

With the start line positioned just outside the picturesque English Harbour, there will be 10minute intervals between the different classes. 11am will see the combined fleet of IRC 2,3 CSA, this will be followed at 11.10 by the IRC 1 and Class 40s. At 11.20 IRC Zero and Superyachts, and finally the nine multihulls at 11.30.

rorc racing 1

With the prize giving and closing party scheduled for Friday 23rd February at the Antigua Yacht Club, it’ll be a nail biting week of racing.

By Laura Barber

 

 


February 5, 2018

Antigua Superyacht Challenge 2018

The Antigua Superyacht Challenge is something of an enigma, and this is probably due to the exclusivity of the event where no sponsorship is deemed necessary. This exclusive event has been created especially for the owners of Superyachts that exceed 80 feet, and consists of five days of spirited fun and camaraderie between the competitors, both afloat and ashore. In fact, the coveted Gosnell Trophy is awarded to the worthiest yacht that has competed the fairest, and in the Spirit of Regatta.

REBECCA 1

Racing, yacht Rebecca

The Antigua Superyacht Challenge is held at the historic Nelson’s Dockyard, providing a stunning background for this special occasion. With seven impressive yachts signed up for this year’s event, it is sure to be a fabulous regatta.

rACING 2

Racing underway

There are events planned for every evening, kick starting with the traditional Welcome Cocktail Party held at the picturesque Gunpowder House Restaurant overlooking Nelson’s Dockyard on the evening of the 31st January. This is followed on Thursday night by the famous Cook Off, with a fancy-dress theme of Diwali, and Friday there is a paddle board competition and beach party. A trip to the Caribbean wouldn’t be complete without a traditional night of cocktails, food, dancers, and entertainers. With racing starting at 11am every day, the competitors had better take care when sampling the local rum!

The list of the yachts taking part is impressive, with six of the seven yachts having competed in last year’s regatta.

In the Corsairs Class-

SPIIP, a 34.2 metre Royal Huisam, was built in 2000. She has a beam of 7.8 metres, and a top speed of 14 knots.

SPIIP 3

Elfje, is a 46 metre Royal Huisman, built in 2014. She has a beam of 7.1 meters, and a top speed of 12 knots. Her owner is Wendy Schmidt, the wife of Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmit. She founded the 11th Hour Project in 2006 to support the wiser use of our energy, food and water resources in the world. In fact, Wendy played a huge role in the building of her eco-friendly yacht Elfje, which is extremely fuel efficient.

ELFJE

Rebecca is a 42.43 metre, German Frers design reproduction ketch. She has a traditional design, but with all the latest sailing technology which has been subtly blended so as not to spoil her classic looks. She even has a wireless audio system so that the crew can communicate effectively

REBECCA 6

REBECCA 7

In the Buccaneers Class-

Acadia is 27.5 metre, a Hoek design, and was built in 2016. She has beam of six metres, and although has all the classic lines, she is fitted out with all the latest technologies.

ARCADIA 8

Acadia in pursuit of the yacht Zig Zag.

Zig Zag is a 25 metre Oyster built in 2007, and has a beam of 6.4 metres.

ZIG ZAG 5

Marama is a 32 metre aluminium ketch, with Paul Deeth, the owner of Admiral’s Inn, at the helm for the regatta.

MARAMA

Danneskjold is a 32 metre Dixon Yacht design, built in 2009. She has a beam of 7 metres, and a top speed of 12 knots.

DANNESKJOLD

Danneskjold with her eye-catching sails

DANNESKJOLD

With the fifth and final race held yesterday (Sunday 4th Feb), it was everything to play for in the Corsairs Class. With the wind building throughout the day, the yachts in the Corsairs Class battled it out over the 23 mile course. With Elfje taking first place, Spiip second, and Rebecca third. Spiip still managed to clinch first place overall in the regatta, even though it was only by one point, with Elfje coming second, and Rebecca third.

The yachts in the Buccaneers class completed an 18 mile course, with Acadia securing first place once again. In fact, Acadia accomplished a perfect score line throughout the regatta and were confirmed winners of their class. Danneskjold took second, and with Zig Zag picking up a penalty point, she shared third place with Marama.

MARINA

Tied back up after a great day of sailing

In an area so seeped with the history of battles and hostility afloat, it is great to see Nelson’s Dockyard engaging in a modern day spirit of a more amenable nature. With no blood shed, just good spirits and camaraderie, they battled it out to win the sought-after barrels rum, and the Gosnell trophy. Congratulations to Spiip, who not only won their class, but also the Gosnell Trophy, showing good sportsmanship and spirit throughout the regatta.  The prize giving was held at the Admiral’s Inn, a fitting setting to conclude this unique and memorable regatta, and we look forward to seeing the battle between the Superyachts re-commence next year.

By Laura Barber


January 21, 2018

Exploring Guadeloupe by Yacht continued…

Continuing south from Pigeon Island, we decided to give Basse-Terre a miss and carry on down to the Isles Des Saintes. We motored around, exploring some of the smaller islands before picking up a mooring at Bourg De Saintes. Venturing ashore after having lunch aboard, we were pleasantly surprised with the range of shops, including a choice of some lovely craft and gifts. We bought a couple of fantastic little watercolours from a resident artist, depicting local scenes. A great little memento to take home. There are numerous bars and restaurants to choose from and we chose Ti Kaz, a popular restaurant overlooking the bay. The outlook was spectacular.

We woke up in the morning to see the mega yacht Maltese Falcon anchored behind us, not something you see every day! This 88 metre luxury sailing mega yacht is available to charter and can accommodate up to 12 guests.

Maltese Falcon

Back to reality on our more affordable yacht, we indulge in freshly baked croissants and other bakery delights that are one of the bonuses of visiting a French island. Continuing round, we picked up mooring at Pain de Sucre. With the water being much clearer, snorkeling was in order. Keeping to the rocky coastline, the collection of multi-coloured fish was amazing, including starfish, rays, eels, turtles, and an array of multi-coloured reef fish.

Reef Guadeloupe 2

With the wind picking up slightly in the afternoon, a spot of windsurfing was in order. With my Kindle in hand, I settled down to read on the fore deck, while my husband kept himself entertained jibing across the bay.

Dan windsurfing Guadeloupe

The following day we lifted the anchor, and headed for the island of Marie Galante. A careful approach is required due to the vast number of fishing buoys that litter the approach to the bay of St Louis. This is a beautiful bay with crystal, clear water. Taking the dingy ashore to find some where for lunch, we were somewhat let down with what was on offer. Returning to the boat for lunch, we decided to continue south and head for Grand Bourg. Described as a ‘picturesque harbour with lots of amenities’, we were disappointed with what we discovered. With no berths, or anchoring available inside the harbour, we turned and headed back up the way we’d come and decided to anchor at Folle Anse, which is positioned between St Louis and Grand Bourg. This is a completely deserted stretch of beach and one could imagine a castaway setting. With the advantage of being self-sufficient, the BBQ was soon lit and our  dinner underway. For all its false starts of Marie Galante, you could not fault the crystal, clear waters that surround you. It would, however, be one stop I would miss out in future.

With Point-a- Pitre our next destination, we raised the anchor with thoughts of French cuisine making our mouths water. Choosing to go into a marina for the first time on our trip, we were not disappointed with the Marina Bas-du- Fort. The place is a hub of bars, restaurants and shops and was quite a sensory overload after our peaceful itinerary so far. But with delicious smells assaulting our senses who were we to complain. We were spoilt for choice, with a large selection of waterside restaurants offering a variety of fare. Satisfyingly full, we spent the afternoon relaxing on the boat, before heading out to enjoy the sunset at one of the many bars on offer. The shops, in traditional French custom, stay open late and offers the opportunity for some evening browsing.

Clearing out of customs after breakfast was a delight, as once again we were presented with a computer terminal. Throwing off the stern lines we headed out of the marina and enjoyed absorbing the stunning coastline from our yacht as we made our way east. We headed for the Petite-Terre islands, two uninhabited islands. The approach is quite hair raising, so check your charts, and you also have the current to contend with. Poking our nose in, it looked an amazing place to spend the night but unfortunately there were no mooring buoys available. With only 14 provided and a couple of boats already queuing we decided to cut our losses, as it is a National Nature Reserve, you are unable to anchor. I think that when the day boats go, the place would be quite magical, with only the smattering of other boats that are moored to share the islands with. Definitely one to add to a future itinerary.

As there are few sheltered places to anchor on the east side of the island we decided to head back towards Antigua and spend the night at Green Island.

Green Island

Green Island is uninhabited, unless of course you count the abundant hermit crabs that have made it their home. The bay is well protected due to the numerous reefs that litter this area, which in turn provides a snorkeling paradise. There are various places to disappear and explore, so you don’t need to concern yourself with an influx of other snorkelers. Swimming alongside rays and puffer fish, turtles, and yellow tailed snappers, it really was a perfect way to end our yacht charter.

By Laura Barber